Ksar Rock

Today’s plan for a Tash and Dad multi-pitch adventure was put briefly on hold to check out the Souk in Ida Ougnidif on market day. It was rammed, with dozens of stalls and displays of various wares laid out on the ground. Spectacular piles of fruit and veg alongside sacks of pulses and seeds, and shoes galore next to hardware and haberdashery – a bit like Kendals without the walls or roof!

Tash picked up a bargain tagine for 15Dn (about £1.30)

Then back to the Afantinzar valley for our MPA on Ksar Rock. We’d had a good view of this from the top of Lower Eagle Crag a couple of days ago – a complex lump almost 200m high and with climbing on all sides and multiple tiers allowing for varied link-ups.

We went for the 3* classic combo of Sahara, MVS 4b followed by Jedi Groove, HVS 4c.

The main pitch of Sahara is simply outstanding – a contender for the pitch of the trip, with a succession of jugs coming to hand at every move on a wall that you’d expect to be much harder.

This brings you to the first “summit” of the day at the top of The Cannon from which you drop down slightly to cross the ravine to the main crag on a choke of huge boulders. Here’s Tash belaying on the biggest of these: “the chockstone”.

This is directly below Jedi Grooves. The first pitch doesn’t quite live up to the quality below, but does get you to a splendid stance: “The Pulpit”. From here, the meat of the route presents itself with an airy step onto the arete followed by technical bridging up a couple of steep grooves. Lots of fun.

Then there’s a 50m scramble to the summit, giant cairn and obligatory team selfie.

The guidebook describes descent via a couple of situ ab points on fixed steel cables or chains. We searched in vain and concluded that they’d been removed. As we hadn’t brought shoes we decided to sacrifice a sling to save the walk-off. A small price to pay for a great day!

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